The Fan A to Z – #G

G – How long have you been in the fandom, and how has your attitude to the fandom changed in that time?

An early contribution by Guylty on tumblr, dubbed “Coincidental RA”

When is the time that you are “legitimately” *in* the fandom? My first posts happened  on tumblr, at the end of April 2012. Wow, six years – that’s an age… But the initial posts were lost in the ether, with no interaction happening, so the fandom didn’t know I was trying to join *haha*. Anyway, it didn’t take long, and I was drawn into the community of RA bloggers when I started to create my own contributions to it – as in: not just reblogging pictures and gifs but adding content that I had created myself. (*ooof* started out back then… and then a series of screenshots whenever “my dash did a thing”, see right). So in the early days of taking part in the fandom, there was joy that I had found other people who shared my interest, and I loved interacting with everyone, creating a feeling of community with them, mutually inspiring each other, supporting each other, generally having fun with each other. That was undoubtedly also pushed by the fact that my interest for RA was still new and I was in the “adore and adulate” stage of fangirling. I couldn’t *wait* to contribute to the fandom every day. It was an outlet that I *needed* in order to speak about this new obsession, to swoon over RA, to praise his every last eyelash. It was almost like an addiction – and the fandom was the enabler.

Where has my fandom gone???

Funnily enough, it became much more complicated when I started also blogging on WordPress. Initially it was again lots of joy; especially because I started a new venture (and blogging series – the *ooof*s). And the joy held because my new blogging home also provided the inspiration for a new creative endeavour (the RAPSes). With new friendships being forged, the fandom proved to be a massive rock for me, when I had to deal with a bereavement. I am forever grateful for that. But maybe fandoms do not translate well across multiple platforms, or maybe it was because I was not a newbie anymore, or maybe it was just because suddenly the fandom doubled in size for me. But instead of doubling the fun, it eventually kind of halved the fun. With more people and more platforms, came more potential for conflict. Not necessarily individually between me and others, but in terms of witnessing or participating in discussions which went out of hand. My up-to-then happy attitude towards fandom definitely received a big blow when I witnessed majorly bad behaviour two years in and I realised that the fandom wasn’t a universal ‘happy place’ but had an unsavoury underbelly. I found that deeply upsetting, because I want fandom to be the place where I recharge my batteries through positive interaction and mindless drooling. But the conflicts brought an element of mistrust, anger and fear into this sphere of my private life. Since there is enough negativity in life in general, I am not willing to deal with such in my hobby. And if fandom is connected with anger and fear, then it doesn’t provide the relaxation and happiness that I am looking for in my free time. So I stepped back a little bit, and I don’t think my attitude has really recovered since then.

Fiercely protecting my castle…

It also hasn’t helped that my own, gradual distancing from the object of my admiration means that I reserve the right to be (respectfully) critical of the OOA and his projects. In the early days, I loved every little snippet I saw – now, not so much. That simply comes with time. I dislike the pressure of having to celebrate *everything* he does, and I don’t feel that it is my duty as a fan to promote him or his work. I already do so, incidentally, every time I mention his name or his projects. I think that is enough. That occasionally puts me at odds with “the fandom”, and I find that hard to navigate. In consequence, it has meant that the fandom at large has become a little less important for me. If I want to regain/maintain that initial, joyous feeling of interaction, I have to make my own ‘happy place’. That means that I am no longer trying to embrace the *whole* fandom, but I am quite happy to have settled into a small corner of the (larger) fandom where I interact with like-minded people. My blog is my castle.

Fandom for me is now a place where I can have fun with friends – but the naive, innocent enthusiasm is definitely gone. Panta rhei.

90 thoughts on “The Fan A to Z – #G

  1. Good to hear from you I was a little worried.
    I am keeping an eye on Paramount Network new to UK TV and started to watch Sleepy Hollow and I might ‘cheat’ on RA for a while as Tom Mison is nice and I had to laugh when i looked him up in IMDB to find him English and a Leo.
    Hoping Paramount show Berlin Station as we had that half hearted promise last year.

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    • Yeah, it took me a while to mull over something 😉.
      Oh, Tom Mison. I remember him as the (slightly hapless) Mr Bingley in ‘Lost in Austin’.
      I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that Paramount Network will finally get Berlin Station out there in the UK. Honestly, it’s just ridiculous that it is taking so much time.

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    • I just googled Tom Mison and he has been quite busy
      He was roommates w Rupert Friend. I’m curious now about “ Lost In Austen” bec I love Pride and Prejudice w Keira Knightley so this series might be up my alley. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I am a Newbie to Richard and the fandom. I discovered him like a bolt of lightening on Jan 1, 2018 when I stumbled on Berlin Station and thought oh my gosh who is this gorgeous Guy? The depths of my ignorance were pretty deep bec even my dad knew Richard’s CV and recommended Robin Hood (season 2 by far my fav) and Spooks (I love spy stuff now). I know many commenters here are not fond of BS but for me my own family parallels Daniel’s quite a bit except my dad was in the Army not CIA, mom is from Stuttgart not Berlin. I’m not on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for a number of reasons but mainly that feeling that Guylty speaks so honestly and eloquently about- negativity and meanness for me what I have witnessed from social media. I am physically and emotionally drawn to Richard bec we have a lot in common but I am not a fan of his tweeting in general. I feel I’m still on the outside looking in here toward the fandom and these blogs. But the elation of reading comments that are so honest, funny, sweet, intellectually stimulating and informative have really brought joy to me and have filled a void that I didn’t want to admit existed for a long time. I’ve always been a late bloomer so maybe I have that in common with him as well. I don’t know if there are levels of the fandom. I peruse #Richardarmitage just about every day now but I like that this little niche here between Guylty’s blog and Servetus blog who linked me to Guylty’s blog are stimulating enough for me to get my fix of Richard. It is refreshing and comforting to know there are other people out there who feel and think like I do. So thank you Richard.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I don’t think there are “levels” of fandom, either (because that implies a sort of ranking). I prefer to think of fandom stages – along the journey as a fan. What you describe pretty much resembles my first couple of years in the fandom. Oh the joy of discovering Richard’s work bit by bit, of connecting with other people who were similarly enthusiastic, of feeling inspired to talk/create/blog about the new obsession. Definitely filling a void that I didn’t even knew was there. I think it is pretty natural that over time the shine wears off a little bit. It’s part and parcel of settling in. That early enthusiasm isn’t really there anymore, but even after 6 years, RA and his fandom don’t leave me stone-cold. My attitude has simply changed. It’s become more distanced in some ways, more mature, more assertive, more confident. I don’t feel as if I need to be present everywhere, anymore, or to keep up with everything that is happening. But that is just me, and there are as many ways of fangirling as there are fangirls. And I agree with you in that I am grateful to RA for bringing people together, too.

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      • I’m sorry levels wasn’t the best choice of wordage bec I certainly did not mean to imply ranks or hierarchy or anything like that. This is the first time for me that I am all in (to the extent that I can be) for an actor that makes me feel as he does. Yeah I don’t know if it is compensating for stuff that is missing in my life (ie love, relationship) at the moment or if it is a greater need to connect to other people instead of feeling isolated and alone lately. But I do look forward to these posts and have gained a lot of insight into different perceptions for my daily life if that makes any sense. My sis looks to the Bachelor and Batchelorette (U.S.) shows to fill her void although she had a major thing for Russell Crowe right after his “Gladiator” days.

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        • The ‘levels’ comment wasn’t meant as a criticism, Michele. I was just ruminating.
          As for the ‘filling of the void’ – in my case, it’s probably a combination of both: a deep need to interact and connect with people, but also a certain amount of frustration in my RL that needs to be compensated by allowing myself to dream. We have a very fitting German word for that kind of thing: “spirit hygienics”. Well, I suppose you could call it ‘soul cleansing’, too – taking time for oneself, doing something purely for pleasure without any pressure of performing to standards or conforming to conventions.

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  3. This is very eloquently said. As you know, I stayed away from organized fandom due to negativity (and because for some odd reason, I have a great need to defend myself at times and to defend quite vocally) but it’s hard to maintain when you’re an island. Glad you found those niche in the corner!!! This niche is pretty great!

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    • Fangirling in isolation has never worked for me. I’ve tried it on and off over the years, but I could never stick it for much longer than a month or so. For me the fun of being a fan is multiplied by engaging with others. I just had to learn that you can’t be friends with everyone.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. you bring up a good question: what is fandom? after I witnessed (and participated in) that first bout of drama, I vowed that I was ‘quitting the army’ and staying close to home on my own blog instead. different fandom events brought me back into things every so often, and then I found myself watching (with popcorn) the train wreck that was the IMDb message boards. just when I thought I’d seen the underbelly, I unexpectedly stumbled into another level. I say I’ve been a part of other fandoms, but have I really? limiting myself to one fan forum and reading one fan site regularly is not the same as writing your own blog. in the beginning I felt like I had to ‘stay informed’ of what was going on everywhere else. even when I closed myself off from the community at large, the fans I did interact with/the few blogs I kept reading brought things to my attention that my natural curiosity couldn’t resist looking into, so I would ‘have all the facts’ and not judge unfairly (<—that's what I told myself). I've since been hovering around two other fandoms and while it's easy to just enjoy at your own level b/c you're not interacting with anyone, it feels rather flat at times. and blogging about crushes out into the boundless internet instead of inside of a fandom, is basically just like talking to yourself in the mirror.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I am not confident enough to blog not for a lack of having things to write about but the technical acumen to make the blog come alive! Part of the appeal of both Servetus’and Guylty’s blog is the mixture of pics and stories and news and commentary and anecdotes and role playing so I get engrossed in all of it and it makes me laugh, cry, ponder, empathize and I get a lot of comfort from that esp the stories about our parents or siblings or jobs so again I don’t feel alone. I wouldn’t mind being on an island w Richard though😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Michele – *anyone* can blog. Your blog, your castle. You set the theme and the tone, you decide your focus, and if others don’t like what you write, no one is forcing them to read. It is fun and often very gratifying. But it’s a massive time-stealer 😁.
        What you describe is the best part of blogging, I think: when you develop relationships or feel that you are getting to know the blogger. (At least *I* like that – it’s probably not everybody’s cup of tea.) I particularly like that because the object of our admiration steadfastly refuses to let us know him *hehe* – and thus my “blogging relationships” fill that particular void. Yeah, we’d have to force Richard on an isolated island with us in order to look behind the veneer…

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        • Guylty you make it sound so inviting but maybe it’s laziness on my part too the time and creativity to come up w ideas that WILL entice commenters to check me out so to speak. I appreciate the thoughtfulness bec I have a lot to say esp politically and socially and well re music movies theatre and that’s just the foundational stuff. Yeah I think what draws me to men like Richard is an aloofness about them you just really never know what he is thinking which can be enticing but also frustrating.! Can you imagine if all of us got him alone on an island and he said “ladies ask away!” Until then I will enjoy being amongst the crowd of readers of yours so please don’t stop blogging!

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    • Another question is – can one fangirl sufficiently in isolation? Or is being a fan always connected to being part of a fandom? I enjoy the interaction with other fans – preferably in long form and not in 140 characters. But then again, I am not exactly producing long treatises myself, anymore. Maybe I have dumbed down, or maybe it has all been said.

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      • I think you can fan in isolation. there are pros and cons to both ‘going it alone’ and being a vocal part of a fandom. it really depends on how strong the urge is to gush about your OOA, to discuss his films and go in depth about his characters, or speculate about his offscreen persona. if your content with watching from afar and just absorbing and enjoying within yourself, it can still be a fulfilling and meaningful experience. with Ewan McGregor, I just absorbed. with Christian Bale, I liked discussing the characters. with Robert Pattinson, it was very much based in the camaraderie of a community. with Richard, it was the characters and the community. with Jamie Dornan, I just like to watch. and with Dan Stevens, I’m back to absorbing. it’s all about what you need at the time, I suppose.

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        • True. Depends on what each fan individually wants from fandom, or what their style of fangirling is like. Even I had a period once when I silently “absorbed” Colin Firth. For me, the exchange and the discussion with others has become more important over the years, I guess. Maybe it also has to do with “learning” what fandom or being a fan *is*.

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          • That is very true but I like the interchange of thoughts and suggestions and support that I see here in your blog and Servetus blog. My eyes have opened up to other blue eyed Brits boys out there although there is only one true Guy👏😍😛

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  5. Thanks for your thoughtful reflections. I always appreciate that you take the high road and avoid all the negativity…I don’t post much if at all, but I definitely enjoy being a “part” of something that is for me pure pleasure, most of the time. And I share your wicked sense of humor, too. I watched Sleepy Hollow for a time, Mison is easy on the eyes and has a good deep voice too, but after a while it got a little silly…I can do suspension of disbelief with the best of them, but…I’ve never checked out Lost in Austin so may have to do that, didn’t know he was in it. Be well!

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    • That is such a good point. Being a fan just for “pleasure”. For me, that hits the nail on the head: it’s just for me, not for my family or RL friends. Something I engage in because *I* love it, without judgment from my everyday environment. Yeah, a great reason, Seekers. I have to remember that the next time I feel my mojo slipping away…
      Deffo try ‘Lost in Austen’ – major suspension of disbelief needed there, too, but really quite a fun premise.

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  6. When was the time I felt “legitimately” in the fandom? I suppose I feel a bit illegitimate even after all this time. I think I should be a blogger to join the club, I am definitely not up to that. I am not even in the army, just the reserves. But I have made true friendships from RA drooling, and those relationships have enriched my life so much. Thanks to you, Guylty, I am resting after plowing through the weirdness that is CCSD. And so many wonderful adventures. If RA stopped ringing my bell, the small part of the fandom I am attached to would remain, I hope. It is too much fun to disappear. Though it may wax and wain

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  7. Le fandom est un lieu d’échanges, de partages, de découvertes (inside itself). Mais ce qui m’interpelle le plus c’est qu’il a été et est encore pour moi, le moyen d’acquérir des connaissances qui n’ont rien à voir avec le fandom (outside itself). La scientifique que je suis s’est mise à s’intéresser à la littérature, l’histoire, le monde des arts, la langue anglaise… par exemples.
    J’espère que vous passez de bonnes vacances! Les quelques photos de vos vacances en Irlande ont réveillé mes souvenirs. N’étant pas sur twitter je souhaiterais les découvrir mieux. Cela me motivera peut-être à trouver du temps pour finir mon article anglais sur les tourbières d’Irlande et me décidera à choisir notre prochaine destination de vacances en famille.

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    • That is a really important point, Squirrel – the way our participation in fandom has widened our horizons. It has done that for me, too. Not only in terms of the genres and plays and topics that have been introduced by RA himself, but also in terms of fandom and internet pop culture. And then there is the contact with fellow fans from other countries which has put their countries on my map, too. Very good point!
      I had a lovely short break last week indeed. Only two nights away, but in breathtaking Connemara. I had not thought about posting pictures (because I don’t want to bore readers with the same pictures from the same place all the time), but now that you are suggesting a little picture post, I’ll be more than happy to oblige! Especially if it will prompt happy memories of your own trip – and provide motivation for your scientific essay! Thank you xx)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. J’ai découvert Richard Armitage en mai 2013, suite à la projection sur grand écran, d’un film américain auquel il ne participait pas. Ce film m’a amené à voguer sur internet et à tomber sur la série anglaise de 2004 etc.. Je communique sur plusieurs blogs de fans (de Richard Armitage exclusivement). Principalement sur celui de Servetus et ceci depuis janvier 2015. Suite à l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo, j’avais pris ma souris pour la première fois. Naturellement Servetus m’a gentiment remise dans les rails, en critiquant avec justesse mes propos. Depuis je suis assidûment son blog et ceux qui comme le votre Guylty gravitent autour (je n’ose les nommer de peur d’en oublier, celles qui ont reçu mes phrases pleines de fautes d’anglais se reconnaîtront… Merci à tous ces fans de Richard Armitage!

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  9. Ode to G Force

    Give me a Gee,
    Give me a whizz,
    I’m a fan of a man in show biz.
    Why does he attract me so?
    Because he’s gorgeous head to toe?
    I guess that I will never know,
    Which body part makes me glow.
    There are so many to choose from,
    Ask anyone in his drooling fandom.

    Kathy Jones

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I came for the leather and stayed for the craic. ☺️

    It was a re-run of RH that sucked me in, about the time of the Bateman debacle, so circa 2009?

    For me it was always about the wonderful characters, though it has helped over the years to discover that Mr A is decent sort of chap, by and large. And as has already been said, his various projects have expanded my horizons in directions I wouldn’t have thought to go.

    Fandom is my happy place, so I pick and choose what to read, like the wonderful Guylty, Zee and their equally gifted and talented commentors. Where else could you find such delights as the poetry up above?

    I fangirl from afar but I love you all. ❤ Negativity I can do without.

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  11. I have been a fan since the first time I watch North & South, then stayed up all night Googling “Richard Armitage,” which was early November 2012. My first few months were total online immersion in fanfics, fan videos, reading posts at blogs, reading continuations of N&S on C19, etc. Me and a computer screen. I was amazed at the collection of bright, articulate, participatory women out there centered around this one obscure British actor and decided I wanted in. I totally missed the opening of the first Hobbit movie, because I’m not interested in Tolkien, and it was raining the night of the NYC “premiere,” so I wasn’t tempted to go out. Yup, you read that right and I can hardly believe it myself now, given how hard I’ve fallen since. I think I would walk through fire now to glimpse RA live.

    Liked by 1 person

    • North and South, the gateway drug. At least in the olden days, pre-Hobbit. I find it interesting that so many people were interested enough to actually go online and search his name. Is that how it always works when one begins crushing on an actor?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! I have done more digging on line about this man than anything else in my life since Jan. I hope he does some theatre in NYC maybe next year or in London I would go in a heartbeat.

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      • Me, too! In 2012 I couldn’t be arsed to walk to a subway in the rain (note use of newly acquired British “arsed,” did I do it correctly, ladies?), and now I’m ready to get on airplanes. My, my, how quickly the proud can fall. Let’s do a meetup around the next theater production, Michele, in either city. Deal? Be prepared for cheeky behavior, though, as I’m known to do this — an activity which I love to dredge up and keep reminding everyone of: https://rafrenzy.com/2014/01/19/a-little-more-about-the-pinterproust-reading/

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sounds wonderful! I love to find a theatre buddy! I’m stoked to see Bette Midler in Hello Dolly in NYC in Aug ticket was cheap compared to most Broadway shows. Train ticket from DC to NYC was twice as much but sooo worth it.
          I like the word bloody too and he uses the word bloke quite a bit and a bloke is positive term right? Cheeky is a fabulous word also. Thank you for the link!

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            • Wow! What a truly beautiful narration of your time in NYC I think THAT is what at least to me the fandom is all about meeting and sharing mutual admiration or alright passion for this gorgeous GUY with fellow fans then forging friendships out of that. I’m just so happy for you that you were able to experience all of that. NYC is to me the most magical and fantastic place on earth. Dublin comes in a close second!

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  12. I suppose joined the fandom when he strode onto the TV screen as Guy. I will watch anything about Robin Hood or King Arthur so, when I learned BBC had a series starting, I was there. Of course, when this tall, dark, leather-clad dream appeared I was like everyone else…Robin who? I started googling everything about him, religiously reading through every fansite. Richardarmitagenet.com became my Bible. I made a list of all his roles so I could find them and watch them. Fortunately, my Houston library has almost all his early work on DVD so I was able to see everything, except Frozen…can’t find Frozen. The first DVD I checked out was North and South. Well, I was smitten. It was also the first of his DVDs I bought. I studied every picture, read all the articles, immersed myself in al things Richard.
    Then I discovered fan groups on Facebook. I loved talking to like minded women who also had researched him thoroughly. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting several of them and look forward to seeing them again and meeting more, including you, dear Sonja.
    How has my attitude toward the fandom changed? We’ve noticed that newer fans don’t do their homework. Every time an old photo is posted they ask where it’s from, etc. We don’t mind answering these questions for a while until we realize it’s every freaking picture and this person is just too lazy to do her own research. It bugs a lot of us. I call them pseudofans because I’m sure they’ll go away eventually as the latest hottie pops up on their radar. Oh yeah, there are several other men I admire too but while I might follow them on Twitter or Instagram, or arrange to meet them at Fan Expos and ComcCons, on Facebook my only fandoms are all Richard. He’s the only one I still dream of all these years. He’s the only one who takes my breath away, although to be fair, being hugged by Jason Momoa made my knees go weak.
    I’m very behind on this Fan A to Z survey. In fact this is the first one I’ve answered. I’m still hung up on A because apparently I’ve spent a small fortune, but I’m working on it and will get through the others too.

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    • Richardarmitagenet was really the thing that cemented it – with all those old fan messages there and the abundance in photos… Can’t thank Ali enough for her tireless work over the years.
      As for new people joining “without homework” – can’t say that I have really noticed it that much, but maybe that is down to the platforms where I am active? I notice new people emerging on tumblr, but they tend to do the work themselves, re-posting all the old goodies – which I love seeing, too. On my blog, there are relatively few new people emerging (*waves to LL and Michele*), which makes me wonder why? Is it because blogging as a platform is “old-fashioned” (the short, fast, picture-based platforms seem to be where it’s at, nowadays), or is it rather because the bloggers and their circle of regular readers come across as a ‘closed group’ of people who are not open to new arrivals? I’d really dislike it if that was the case.
      As for working through the challenge – no pressure, Tommie 😊. Just answer those that you *like* to answer!

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  13. The friendships I’ve made through RA have been a real bonus. This was brought home to me again today because Mulubinba and I caught up with each other after eighteen months – I’m on holiday up her way so it was a good opportunity to get together again, and we picked up right where we left off!😊

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    • Oh, brilliant! Nice to hear that you had a mini-fan meet with Mulubinba. I’m sure you had lots of fun. And yes, it’s stories such as this that are characteristic for the fandom.
      Keep enjoying your holiday, Mezz!

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  14. Detected RA in 2008 when I first saw North&South, but didn´t count myself to the fandom at this time. Just had a look or two on Annette´s and Ali´s sites. Joined the first forum in 2013, FB and Twitter, later other forums, so count myself to the fandom since 2013. There have though always been other British actors I liked, though RA was always no.1! 😉 I normally don´t read blogs, because I just don´t have the time for it, but I´d like to discuss RA, which is mostly not possible on the AA and RAC, but a bit better on C19. Also heard about various problems on those boards, why people left it and went to other social media. I think my first fangirling has been lost, I mostly love the fandom because of the people I meet there (not all of them, as they´re so different as in RL). Also follow the news (mostly first on Twitter or Instagram) and try to keep the forums running (sometimes think their time has ended!)… But I´m sometimes disappointed that RA again didn´t get a role in a British series or film, and that he obviously wants to conquer Hollywood! *rolling eyes* There were also times when I thought he was perhaps not such a good actor at all, or that just his agents weren´t good enough.

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